Masters 2017: What a win would mean to four co-leaders

Sporting News
1 / 1
Masters 2017: What a win would mean to four co-leaders

Midway through the 2017 Masters, four players sit atop the leaderboard at 4-under par.

Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman and Thomas Pieters fought throughblustery conditions swirling around Augusta National to set themselves up for a special weekend.

Though all four players are searching for their first major, they all have different stories, and are at different points in their careers.

Here is how a major championship win would impact each player's career:

Rickie Fowler

Fowler has become one of the PGA Tour's fan favorites due to his affable nature and interesting clothing choices. After finishing in the top 5 of all four majors in 2014, Fowler has failed to match that result since.

Augusta National has been good to Fowler in his young career. A T-5 set the tone for a great season in 2014, then Fowler finished T-12 here in 2015. Unfortunately, he shot an 8-over 80 to kick off the event last year, which led to a missed cut, but that was clearly an anomaly.

Fowler, 28, has plenty of time to win majors in his career, yet winning a Masters before the age of 30 would catapult him into elite status. This could be a career-changing week for one of the game's brightest stars.

Thomas Pieters

The Belgian Bomber introduced himself to the grand stage when he went 4-1 last fall at the Ryder Cup. Pieters, who mainly plays on the European Tour, but has also gained partial status on the PGA Tour, hits the ball a mile.

Pieters, 25, possesses a deft touch around the greens, which is why he's found success at Augusta National despite playing it for the first time earlier this week. He would be just the fourth player to win the Masters in his first attempt.

Having already been introduced to casual golf fans, a win this week would make Pieters a household name; one that should be considered a threat on a weekly basis.

Sergio Garcia

Garcia, probably more than any player on Tour, would be positively impacted by winning a major championship.

It doesn't necessarily have to be theMasters, but the 37-year-old Spaniard won't be picky at this point in his career. Near-misses and heartbreak have been a theme throughout his major championship career, but this could be the week Garcia gets the proverbial monkey off his back.

Should Garcia outlast the field and slip on a green jacket, he will enter the Hall of Fame discussion.

Charley Hoffman

After grabbing a five-shot lead early in the second round, Hoffman's flame dimmed a bit in the middle of his round when he collected five bogeys in a stretch of six holes.

Still, Hoffman is in contention this week, and he's found success at Augusta National in the past. With so many formidable challengers surrounding him, Hoffman will have to calm his nerves and play his own game.

A win this week would round out an underrated career that has blossomed in the last couple seasons. He may never be a PGA Tour star, but a Masters win would make people look at him a bit differently.